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Kashiwajima Special Attack Shinyo Base Monument
Otsuki Town, Kochi Prefecture

The 134th Shinyo Special Attack Squadron arrived at the small island of Kashiwajima at the southern tip of Kochi Prefecture on June 26, 1945. Near the end of World War II, shinyo explosive motorboats to be used in suicide attacks were deployed at many places along the coast of the main Japanese islands in preparation for an expected enemy invasion.

This monument to remember the 134th Shinyo Special Attack Squadron was erected in October 1988 through contributions from former squadron members and residents of the island. The monument inscription reads:

In June 1945, near the end of the Pacific War, preparations were made for the final battle for the mainland. There were 48 members [1] of the Special Attack Shinyo Corps who were stationed here. They kept 24 shinyo motorboats in six horizontal tunnels at the bottom of this hill, and they waited for an opportunity to attack. Words cannot express the pure hearts of the young men in the squadron who made a commitment to die for their country as they faced a time of emergency and the compassion of the islanders who kindly looked after them. The prosperity of today's Japan, which recovered from the terrible devastation from 43 years ago, is in large part due to the strength of young men from that time who survived. Filled with boundless thanks for the spirits of the many men who died in special attacks everywhere, we erect this monument here as one light praying for the repose of their souls and hoping for eternal world peace.

The commander of the 134th Shinyo Special Attack Squadron composed the following song, which is engraved on the back of the monument:

Kashiwajima Shinyo Squadron Song
By Tatsuya Nakatani

Forty-eight men in a sure-death squadron
Of two-seat shinyo motorboats [2]
Handsome and dashing
In boarding, uniforms with white silk on the collars

Nights of waiting to sortie wear on
In brief dreams, Father, Mother,
Forgive me for dying before you
Our lives, we go for our country

Sorrow of the tracks of our tears
Marks in Nankoku's summer shore
Where the Kuroshio Current draws near
Memories of our youthful vows

The 134th Shinyo Special Attack Squadron at Kashiwajima Base along with the 21st Totsugeki Unit headquarters in Sukumo in Kochi Prefecture did not clearly understand the Emperor's message of surrender on August 15, 1945, so they remained ready to sortie in a suicide attack against the American fleet if it approached. During the early evening of August 16, an accident occurred at Kashiwajima in which gasoline apparently caught fire and led to a huge explosion in one of the tunnels. This accident destroyed only three shinyo boats and slightly injured one person [3]. However, a similar accident that occurred with the 128th Shinyo Squadron at Tei Base, also in Kochi Prefecture, had tragic results with 111 men killed, many others injured, and 23 boats destroyed [4].


Kashiwajima as seen from road leading to island.
Monument stands near the bridge
from Kashiwajima to the mainland.

Notes

1. There were 168 total members of the 134th Shinyo Special Attack Squadron including boat crewmen, maintenance workers, headquarters personnel, and other base workers (Shinyo Association 1990, 208). The 48 members mentioned here were boat crewmen.

2. The 134th Shinyo Squadron had 24 two-man Model 5 shinyo motorboats (Shinyo Association 1990, 208). Shinyo squadrons had either one-man Model 1 shinyo motorboats or two-man Model 5 shinyo motorboats.

3. Hayashi 2009, 187-94.

4. Hayashi 2009, 121-4.

Sources Cited

Hayashi, Eidai. 2009. Kuroshio no natsu: Saigo no shinyō tokkō (Kuroshio summer: Last shinyo special attack). Tokyo: Kojinsha.

Shinyo Association (Shinyōkai), ed. 1990. Ningen heiki: Shinyō tokubetsu kōgekitai (Human weapons: Shinyo Special Attack Corps). Shiro Arai, general editor. Volume 2. Tokyo: Kokushokankokai.


Crewmen of 134th Shinyo Special Attack Squadron